Why I'd Have Preferred A Southern European Childhood

Christopher Fowler
1 Railway station destination boards have half a dozen countries on them. 2 Facial hair at 14 (Spain, Greece and Italy only). 3 Can sit outside for more than 20 minutes without having to go and dry off. 4 Emotional freedom; gesticulation, sweary gestures, shouting, slapping, kissing, public hugging, random protests, losing temper, generally being demonstrative over everything. 5 Seafood and salad every day if you feel like it, beaches don't sell cockles or candy floss. 6 Matriarchal societies make blokes nicer, children well behaved & good to mothers. 7 Sunglasses on a kid; first chance to look cool. Don't grow up with knees like bits of white string. 8 Get given first glass of red wine at age 7. 9 Don't have to spend entire childhood in a sweater 'for when it gets cold later'. 10 Beach trips do not involve losing money in arcade and standing over a jellyfish with a brick. NB Much of this is offset by the one good reason for growing up in England; books. I'm in a flippant mood today. The sun is out, I'm between chapters and
heading to the beach.


Jo W (not verified) Wed, 23/05/2018 - 13:21

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Still in Barca then,Chris? ;-)

Denise Treadwell (not verified) Wed, 23/05/2018 - 14:04

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Sounds good to me!!:)

Christopher Fowler Wed, 23/05/2018 - 17:03

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

No Jo, back in Barca - before whizzing to Cardiff for their festival.

Peter Tromans (not verified) Wed, 23/05/2018 - 19:46

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

As someone who has many friends from southern Europe and lived there for seven years, I assume that you are making an exercise in irony.

Or is Barca totally different from many other places of similar latitude?

Helen Martin (not verified) Thu, 24/05/2018 - 00:25

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I thought cockles were seafood, but no candy floss is a very good thing.
#4 - as you age this becomes accessible. I had a meltdown at coffee 2 Sundays ago over the claptrappy ramp that provides access to our church hall. There was a circle of silence around me briefly but it healed & there was some positive comment. "Access" should be access and not involve walking all the way around a building where you have to pound on a door to be allowed in and where the friction strips that slow chairs down have been worn loose and broken.
I'll skip the facial hair at any age, but a boy with a moustache at age 14 is disturbing.

Ian Luck (not verified) Thu, 24/05/2018 - 05:46

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

When I was at secondary school, any boy who got facial hair early on, generally became one of the saddest classifications of pupil - the 'fist magnet'. A very good friend of mine is Gibraltarian/Spanish, and I was amused to find that any discussion at his parents' (utterly lovely people, by the way), became 'shouty' very quickly, although there was no anger or malice in it. Seaside Cockles are not great, but go to North Norfolk, and ask for some 'Stiffkey (pronounced, of course, STOO-KEY) Blues'. These are very large, slate coloured Cockles only found on the bleak and beautiful North Norfolk coast. They are delicious, especially when fried with bacon, and served on toast. You'll never want to eat another vinegary Cockle out of a jar again.

Christopher Fowler Thu, 24/05/2018 - 08:32

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Cockles and bacon sounds amazing. I'm up for that.

Wayne Mook (not verified) Thu, 24/05/2018 - 18:43

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Sorry Blighty for because I couldn't live without a nice cup of tea and a biscuit.